Charades is a parlor or group game that revolves around word guessing. We explain how to play charades, as well a great charades ideas and categories to play.Party & Drinking Games
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How to play Charades?
Charades is a game for people of all ages and group sizes.
The objective of charades is to guess a word or phrase that another player is acting out.
The player is not allowed to talk while he is acting out the word or phrase. Usually, the word or phrase is handed to the player acting out first, but instead of a slip of paper, you can use an app.
Step by step guide how to play charades:
1. Divide players into even teams
To make the game even more fun, you can divide the players up into different teams, who can then guess against each other.
The objective is to get your teammates to guess the answer using only gestures. Having people compete in teams adds to the fun, as the opposing team can come up with the words or phrases to guess.
2. Write the phrases or words to guess slips of paper
Both teams need to write down common words or phrases on sheets of paper. These words or phrases will be given to the opposite side to draw at random when it’s their turn.
Usually, the words or phrases are limited to categories that the teams agree upon before it starts.
Category ideas for charades
Some category ideas to pick your charades from. It is a good idea to chose words or phrases from a few categories and provide the category to your teammates before the clock starts.
- TV shows
- Song titles
- Book titles
Long sentences and foreign phrases are usually not allowed. When in doubt, ask your teammates. If at least half have heard it before, it should be fine.
3. Fold the paper slips and put them in a box
Fold each of the sheets of paper, so that the word or phrase is hidden. Put these slips in a box. Give the container with words or phrases to the opposing team and get theirs.
Usually, you can use a basket as a container, but you can also just use an empty glass. Just make sure the opposing team can’t read the slips.
4. Select a starting team and set a time limit
Flip a coin to determine which team goes first.
Set a time limit, depending on how confident you are. We usually use a 2-minute time limit.
If the team can guess the word or phrase within the time limit, the team scores a point.
If the team fails to guess the word or phrase within the time limit, the team scores no point.
After one team guesses right or the time runs out, it’s the other teams turn to play.
Additional rules for Charades
To make it really competitive, you can play a best of three and agree on something the losing team has to do before the game starts.
Provide additional information to your team before the game starts:
- The category
- The number of words in the phrase
- Give a thumbs up for a correct word of a phrases
- Indicate with your finger which word of the phrase was correct
- Indicate if your team is on the right track by pointing a finger to your nose
- The players guessing may ask the player acting out questions, which he can answer with a nod.
Ideas for easy Charades to act out
Here are some easy words and phrases to act out while playing charades. It is not necessary to provide the category to your team, as it should be easy to guess them.
- Watching TV
- Playing the piano
- Playing the guitar
- Making pancakes
- Listening to music
- Driving a car
- Writing a letter
- Giving a haircut
- Typing on a keyboard
- Mowing the lawn
- Putting on makeup
- Banana peel
- Ice skating
- Harry Potter
Ideas for hard charades to act out
Here are some hard charades words and phrases to act out. It is more fun if you provide your teammates with a category that the word or phrase belongs to like movies, activity, animals, or things. Otherwise, it will be insanely hard for the team to guess the word or phrase.
- Horror Movie
- Flying in a plane through turbulence
- Sleeping in a hammock
- Cooking meat
- Listening to classical music
- Playing Super Mario Kart
- Driving a go-kart
- Writing a letter of complaint
- Flying a drone
- Winning an award
- The president
- Rock star
- Hot dog
- Stubbed toe
- Light bulb
- Tap dance
- Wizard of Oz
- River dance
- Road bump
- Santa Claus
- Drinking coffee
- Going shopping
- Fight Club
- The Lion King
Different ways to play the game charades
Initial charades was a game of guessing words and phrases that are acted out. However a lot of charades apps offer different game modes.
Here are different ways to play charades including ideas and topics for charades for these variations.
Charades with Movies
Instead of acting out, the player has to describe the movie plot to the guessers.
To make the Charades movie variation more difficult, don’t use any character names while describing the movie.
List of good movies for charades:
- The Three Musketeers
- Forrest Gump
- Avengers: Endgame
- Indiana Jones
- The Social Network
- 12 Years a Slave
- Wonder Woman
- Avengers: The Age of Ultron
- The Godfather Part 1
- The Lion King
- The Dark Knight
- A Beautiful Mind
- Beauty and the Beast
- Black Panther
- American Beauty
- The Departed
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
- Captain Marvel
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- Guardians of the Galax
- The Jungle Book
- The Martian
- Iron Man
- The English Patient
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon
- The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- The Silence of the Lambs
- Slumdog Millionaire
- No Country for Old Men
- Fight Club
- Pulp Fiction
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- King Kong
- Schindler’s List
List of hard movies for charades:
- Citizen Kane
- The Irishman
- Shakespeare in Love
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- The Artist
- Chariots of Fire
- Gone With The Wind
- The Third Man
- Million Dollar Baby
- Green Book
- Lawrence of Arabia
- Dances With Wolves
- North by Northwest
- Taxi Driver
- Driving Miss Daisy
- Before Midnight
- Truth or Dare
- Spirited Away
- Some Like It Hot
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
- 12 Angry Men
Charades with Songs
Instead of being quite and acting out, charades with songs goes into the opposite direction.
In charades with song the player has to sing or hum out the song. Make sure to not use the song title while singing it!
To make it harder the player only gets one try to sing or hum out the song.
List of songs for charades
- Shake it Off - Taylor Swift
- Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
- Bad Guy -Billie Eilish
- Party in the U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus
- Genie in a Bottle - Christina Aguilera
- Happy - Pharrell
- Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Beyoncé
- Hey Ya - OutKast
- Sorry - Justin Bieber
- I Don’t Care - Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber
- Thriller - Michael Jackson
- Like a Prayer - Madonna
- Budapest - Georg Ezra
- Teenage Dirtbag - Wheatus
- 21 Guns - Green Day
- Wonderwall - Oasis
- Summer of 69 - Bryan Adams
- I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston
- Firework - Katy Perry
- Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
- Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
- MmmBop - The Hansons
- YMCA - The Village People
- Brit it All Back - S Club 7
- You give love a bad name - Bon Jovi
- Give You Hell - The All-American Rejects
- Dancing Queen - Abba
- Everybody - Backstreet Boys
- I Will Survive - Gloria Gayner
- Rolling in the Deep - Adele
- No Scrubs - TLC
- Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
- I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
- Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
- Follow Me - Uncle Kracker
- Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
You can spice up this version of charades by only using songs from a certain era like the 90ties or 80ies.
Photo credit: MOOSE
✍️ May 16, 2020